History: Making peace with Egypt

We may find ourselves with a large Egyptian army on the border, along with a dictator who is possessed by hate.

A young Ariel Sharon 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)
A young Ariel Sharon 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)
It has been reported that Egyptian forces – including tanks – have been brought into Sinai, in violation of the peace treaty with Israel and without any coordination with or approval from Israel.
“Why are you being so difficult?” Egyptian officials used to ask cabinet minister Ariel Sharon during the peace negotiations. “What does it matter to you if we move some post 200 or 300 yards from where it should be?”
His answer never changed: Israel would always be at a disadvantage compared to Egypt, and there could be disastrous consequences for us. “According to the agreement, you are entitled to deploy 240 tanks east of the Suez Canal,” he explained. “Now let’s say that one day we wake up and find 300 tanks there.
“For you, this might be logistically simple, to move 60 tanks from the western side of the canal to the eastern side. but for us, in order to restore the status quo, we would have to be ready to go to war. And this is a difficult decision.
“People would say, and justifiably so, “Why are you dragging the country into war because of 60 tanks?
“Now, let’s say a month later you move another 60 tanks. For you, it’s another logistically simple step. The outcome will be that you sit in Sinai with your tanks – and we will ‘sit’ in a dilemma: lose our deterrence or go to war.
“We do not want to have to deal with this dilemma, and that’s why we will not approve even the slightest deviation from the agreement between us.”
THAT WAS over 30 years ago, but the rationale has not changed. Our interest is that Sinai will cease to be a branch of Afghanistan on our border, but we should also remember how it all happened in the first place.
For years, the Egyptians ignored what was happening in Sinai and allowed the free transfer of weapons into Gaza. Now that the terrorism they fostered has hit them too, they want to violate the peace treaty in order to hit the monster they raised. Or perhaps to ensure that the terrorism would continue to strike, but only on us.
There was no democracy in Egypt, nor will there be. The question is from which side the dictator will come – secular or Islamist. The delicate balance between the Muslim Brother and Egyptian army, which represents the secular parts of Egypt, was broken; it looks like the Egyptian army surrendered without a fight; the military elite was deported and humiliated.
But it really does not matter whether the dictator is from one side or another.
Either way, not one of the real problems of Egypt would be solved. Nearly 90 million starving people, with a Third-World GNP per capita. And when the masses find out that their revolution was stolen and the poverty is the same poverty, at whom will the dictator point his finger and toward where will he divert the anger of the masses? Toward us, of course.
It will not be the first time.
Why did the Egyptians attack us in 1948? There were no Palestinian refugees, and no “occupation.” Why did they close the Straits of Tiran at 1956? Why did they want to erase us in 1967? The Egyptian pattern of agreements violation is not new. Prior to the Six Day War, they expelled the UN inspectors.
Immediately after the cease-fire agreement in the War of Attrition, they brought their SAM batteries to the Suez Canal; The price for that in Yom Kippur War was heavy.
Now they are talking about a unilateral change in the peace agreement – well-known Egyptian dynamics.
Because of the desire to deal with the terrorism problem in Sinai, we may find ourselves with a much bigger problem: a large Egyptian army on the border, along with a dictator who is possessed by hate.
Nothing good can come from this shameful combination.
The writer is author of Sharon: The Life of a Leader.